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Sandlin says mayoral bid was last run for public office

Date: 11/15/2011

Nov. 16, 2011

By Debbie Gardner

Assistant Editor

AGAWAM — Rosemary Sandlin said she will continue to serve the community, but as a volunteer going forward.

Her recent bid to become mayor of Agawam was, she told Reminder Publications, her last foray into public office. Mayor Richard Cohen defeated Sandlin by a count of 4,905 to 3,180 on Nov. 8 to win a sixth two-year term.

“I’ll always be a volunteer, I’ll always be a community worker. It’s in my DNA,” Sandlin admitted. “Of course I’m disappointed that I wasn’t successful, but the people of Agawam have spoken. I congratulate the mayor and wish him success in the next two years.”

She said she was “grateful to everyone who believed in me” in her bid to become the town’s next mayor.

“We ran a clean campaign. We raised issues that needed to be raised in the future — salary issues, budget projection issues and the need for a plan for disasters,” Sandlin continued. “It was obvious to the community at large that we were not ready for a disaster of that magnitude [of the Oct. 29 storm].”

She said, “I think it behooves all elected officials, schools and volunteers to come together and get a plan for disasters in place so no one dies of exposure or from lack of water.”

She added she hopes “the community comes together to make a plan.”

Looking back over her own body of work in public service, Sandlin said she had a “great career” serving her community in capacities that ranged from seats on the Agawam Housing Board and School Committee to working as an aide, and later as chief of staff for former State Sen. Linda Melconian to serving her own term as a state representative for the 3rd Hampden District.

“It’s been fulfilling,” Sandlin said, noting that she “and a few others on the School Committee” were responsible for instituting full-day kindergarten in Agawam during her tenure on that board.

Wile serving on the Agawam Housing Board, she said she was proud of the work that converted the former Dahanry School to senior and congregate housing.

“We added 10 units of congregate housing ... at the time that was very innovative and new,” Sandlin said.

While working with Melconian, Sandlin said her greatest achievement was helping to bring the Veterans’ Cemetery to Agawam.

In her role as a state representative, she said she was proudest of participating in the vote “on the landmark decision that brought equality to all people in Massachusetts” and assisting in the transfer of the former Police Academy property in Agawam to the Soldier On project.

“I’ve had a full career in public life and I’m ready to go on to the private sector now,” she said.

She said she has had “several different offers” since the election, but hasn’t chosen a direction as of yet.

Debbie Gardner can be reached by e-mail at

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